Winger Adama Traore was thrilled to finally break his Middlesbrough duck in Saturday’s much-needed – and impressive – 3-0 success at QPR.
Daniel Ayala’s header and George Friend’s brilliant strike put Boro in control by half-time and former Aston Villa man Traore sealed the win with five minutes remaining.
“I think the team worked hard and we deserved the win,” said Traore as Boro stayed eighth, two points off the play-off places.
“We had the chances and we took them, and I’m so happy for all the team.
“Last week against Fulham, we worked so hard and didn’t get anything. (On Saturday) we kept working and we have the result.
“I do my best for the team and I finally scored–I love this team and the fans and hopefully I will score next week as well!”
Boro boss Tony Pulis insisted that Traore has the potential to play at the top level.
“He can be frustrating at times, but I’m telling you if he works it out then he could be anything,” Pulis said.
“You look at the top clubs in the Premier League and they’ve all got that electric pace and no-one’s as quick as this boy is.
“He’s starting to work it out a bit now and hopefully the penny drops. All we’re asking him to do is what he’s good at, which is to run forward with the ball and run forward without the ball.
“When he does that, as you saw, he’s unplayable.”
Boro’s resounding win was their third consecutive away victory and they were comfortable once Ayala’s nodded them in front in the 24th minute.
“In the first 15 minutes, we looked a little bit out of sorts and QPR started really brightly,” said Pulis.
“As soon as we got a goal we then went on and deservedly won the game.
“For the players to put in that kind of performance and show that bit of character, I’m really pleased.
“We played some good stuff at times, created opportunities, and when we had to roll our sleeves up and battle we restricted them to not many opportunities.”
They went ahead when Ben Gibson flicked on Grant Leadbitter’s 24th-minute corner and Ayala nodded home unchallenged at the far post.
Friend doubled the visitors’ lead 11 minutes later, smashing a left-footed shot from 25 yards beyond keeper Alex Smithies and into the top corner of the net.
Boro rarely looked troubled.
And Traore made sure of the points by slotting past Smithies after being put through by Rudy Gestede.
QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Lynch, Robinson, Furlong, Luongo, Scowen (Eze 70), Freeman, Bidwell (Samuel 46), Oteh (Smith 46), Washington. Subs not used: Ingram, Manning, Baptiste, Wszolek
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Leadbitter, Traore, Downing (Christie 87), Bamford (Clayton 72), Assombalonga (Gestede 69). Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Braithwaite, Fletcher, Johnson. Goals: Ayala 24, Friend 35, Traore 85
Att: 14,182. Ref: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).